Tally Ho!

Sunday 28 April 2024

Lutzen in the cotswolds

This weekend I ventured into the deepest Cotswolds, to Chris G's wargames room for a refight of Lutzen. Chris was handling the strategic map moves whilst Tony D ran the tactical using his home-brew Napoker rules. 

The game is unique in using a hand of playing cards to run everything with players needing to decide how to allocate their cards between; Initiate, fighting/shooting and movement. As the face value of card matters you must decide do you want to fight well, move lots or go first? It sounds odd but plays easily enough once you have been through a few turns.

Field from my position commanding the Russians right

We played on Chris's custom made terrain and fielded several thousand gilder figures from Tony's collection - so a splendid spectate. The game was into its second day when I arrived on the Sunday, with the Allies having established a defensive position using 4 villages and the French struggling to make headway.

Russians on the west of the field

Russian reinforcements arrive on mass

As Allied reinforcements poured onto the table the French position did not improve much sadly - with their guns mostly off table, they suffered under Allied artillery fire. A couple of spirited attacks did clear two of the villages but they were rapidly retaken by the allies. 

Russian Uhlans advance

Off table the French were moving around the flanks of the Allied lines, but with overall damage light Russian troops were used on each flank to ward-off any potential attacks.  

Tussle over the western village

French Guards survey the scene

By mid afternoon the French had lost many of their troops attacking the Prussians dug-in around the villages on the east of the board. This freed-up more Russians to boost the line.  

Russian Guards

More action at the western village

The game ended after 36 turns (across 2 days) with the Allies in strong position and French on table attacks stalled. Their off table flank units were moving slowly, which would have allowed an allied withdrawal in the night.      

A good fun game and my own losses were pretty light. As you can see from the photos it was certainly a spectacular game hosted by Chris and Tony.    


Saturday 27 April 2024

Three Ages of Rome - final rehearsal games

After a few weeks of playing we're pretty much there with our tweaks to the rules. This week we tested making Skirmishers weaker in melee (-1 saving throw) and giving both sides 4 commands. We also tried a two new army with some Arabs/Romans taking the role of Parthians and Steve fielding his Pontic Remnants.  

The Parthians won their game due to the toughness of the Cataphracts. The Romans won the other games seeing off the Pontics and Gauls. The games as a little large still, so we will be reducing them by about 1/3 in size. 

Pontics vs Romans in classic 25mm

Gallic vs Romans in 20mm

Parthian vs Roman in 28mm

Sunday 21 April 2024

More Three Ages of Rome and some bonus content

We're continuing to test Three Ages of Rome and this week tried several tweaks:

  • Increasing the command radius to 30cm.
  • Restricting reforming so you must be 20cm from the enemy.
  • Making the Roman army smaller (26 AP vs 30AP for the barbarians)
All three changes seemed to work well and we started to see units breaking more often, making a result possible. We did nt play to break point but Romans had the edge in 2 games and the Gauls in 1. 

Next week we'll try a couple more tweaks. Firstly moving from 3 to 4 commands so its easier with 2 a side. This means commands minimum size will need to be 2 units. 

Secondly we found skirmishers to be too resilient and 2 units side-by-side certainly have a decent chance of defeating massed infantry. So we will trial a -1 on the saving throw in melee, which will balance the +1 saving throw for being shot.   


Bonus Content


As some bonus content I've started working though my Christmas purchases. First unit completed are some 28mm Camel Corps from Perry Miniatures

Camel Corps in 28mm  

Perry Miniatures 28mm Camel Corps in melee

Saturday 13 April 2024

Three Ages of Rome review

This week we have been learning a new set of rules slated for our next campaign - the Three Ages of Rome. As the name suggests the focus is on Republican, Imperial and Late Romans plus their enemies. The book runs to 160 pages - the rules are about a third of the book with the rest giving some historical intros, some basic wargames concepts and finally some lists and scenarios. Its basing agnostic but recommends 120mm frontage for 20/25mm and 80mm frontage for 6/10/15mm. 

The rules are very simplistic with relatively few troop types and simple mechanics needing no casualty removal or recording, unit morale instead moving up and down between 4 states depending on hits that turn. Units are organised into commands under a leader, usually 3 commands per army with 4-6 units in each.  Commands are issued orders (hold, attack, withdraw) with initiate done on a card system - one card per command with each drawn out in turn until all commands have activated in a random order.

Imperial Romans - Warlord games plastics

Melee and shooting work on the same system - roll for hits and then saves. Hits alter your morale status with units moving from good - disordered - disrupted - routed. There are rules for rallying which enable you to improve morale. Games end when sufficient units or commands are routed for the commanders will to break e.g. you fail an army moral test. 

For our games we did Imperial vs Dacian in modern 28mm and Imperial vs Gallic in "classic" 25mm.

Gallic hordes - classic minifigs and plastics

Dacians - warlord games plastics

Sarmatians vs Romans - more warlord games, metal this time

Ancient British panzer division rides again 

So how does the game play?

The simple mechanics and long moves (Cav = 30-40cm) means things progress quickly and its easy to get the concepts. Orders work well and movement is unfussy.  Shooting ranges are short (15cm for bows) but units can both shoot and possibly fight in a charge turn so that is less of an issue.

There are quite a few charts used for the different phases so the homemade QRS is 2 pages if you do these in readable font - the intent clearly being you play from the book. The biggest challenge is things are hard to kill - hits are hard to score and you can recover wounds on units in combat almost as easily as you inflict them. So we had lots of pushing back and not much routing.

Next week we are going to remove in-combat recovery and restrict it to units outside 20cm of the enemy. So hits should be more sticky and routs more common. We will also reduce the size of the Roman army a bit - their troops are superior to the barbarians but mostly at no additional cost.       


Friday 5 April 2024

Games night

 As our regular Monday night session fell just a few days after our all day game we decided to go for a "game night" format where people brought several games and we all played different things. So we had Perry's freebie Napoleonic rules, Mike's homebrew WWII and Starfleet Battles.

Valour and Fortitude

Nigel laid-on a splendid looking 20mm V&F game that was refight of the Raab scenario from the Easter Saturday. V&F is a pretty short set of rules with the main "twist" being that players each get a random hand of event cards to play - some are generic and some are based on national characteristics. It seems to be a pretty quick game from what I saw and they will likely play again. 

Mike's Home Brew WWII

I did nt see too much of this game but from playing last time the game is company level action with activation points used to boost actions and officer positioning a key element. 


Starfleet battles

This is based on an old (1970s) board game that has been updated over the years. Its basically two games in one; tactical combat and a resource management (engine powers) working side-by-side. It has an usual multi-phased turn sequence which has the effect giving faster ships more moves and more chances to act.    

Its definitely a complex game as you seek to balance your speed, shields and weapons all which looking to stay within power budgets and get the right orientation of your ship to attack the enemy. 

We played a classic encounter of a Federation Constitution class against a Klingon D9.